Wheels & Deals: Hendrick Confident It Can Find Needed Sponsor For No. 88 Car
SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Tripp Mickle reports Hendrick Motorsports has “reconfigured the primary sponsorship plans” for driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Sprint Cup Series car, “allowing it to bump the first unsponsored race back from early this summer to July.” The first race the team “doesn’t have a sponsor for Earnhardt will be July 14 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway." Hendrick Motorsports VP/Marketing Pat Perkins said that the team is “optimistic it will find a sponsor between now and then.” Perkins: “We’re working on a couple of things right now with the potential to bring a program to life this year and extend it into the future.” He added that the team has “no plans to cut the price of sponsoring Earnhardt.” The team is looking for a 13-race sponsorship and sources “have pegged the price at more than $800,000 per race” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/27 issue).
CHATTING WITH THE CHAMP: IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan appeared on CNBC yesterday and talked about having Kevin Kalkhoven as a co-owner of his KV Racing team. CNBC's Maria Bartiromo noted Kalkhoven is a "well-known venture capitalist" and has "deep pockets." Kanaan, who won last Sunday's Indianapolis 500, said, "Racing's extremely expensive, so we know we need either a sponsor or somebody that has a deep pocket to fund it. Kevin's been a very successful businessman and he's a huge race fan." Geico had served as Kanaan's primary sponsor the last couple years before transitioning to an associate sponsorship this year. Kanaan said due to the floods around the U.S. last year, Geico "too a big hit, so they decided to pull back a bit." But he said, "As you can see, my shirt, it's probably covered with sponsors right now" ("Closing Bell With Maria Bartiromo," CNBC, 5/29).
YOUTH MOVEMENT: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Jonathan Welsh reported Camping World and its Good Sam Enterprises travel-club unit have "agreed to sponsor" driver Darrell Wallace Jr. in 11 of his 18 remaining NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races this season. Camping World Chair & CEO Marcus Lemonis said that the decision to sponsor the 19-year-old African-American driver was "based mainly on his promising talent, not on a particular drive for diversity in NASCAR." But he said the decision carried "some element of social responsibility" (WSJ.com, 5/29).
ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH: Furniture Row Racing GM Joe Garone, on his NASCAR team being based out of Denver as opposed to the Charlotte area, said, "It’s nice to be out here in Colorado. You're a little disconnected as far as from all the other shops." He noted the distance "brings a little peace and a lot of focus to our race team." Garone: "We are focused 100% on ourselves, on Kurt (Busch), on what we do to get him and the team moving forward. So it’s a real pleasure from that perspective for sure” (“NASCAR Now,” ESPN2, 5/29).